Bihar to Centre: Give special package soon2 min read
PATNA: The Bihar government on Friday asked the Narendra Modi government to do quickly whatever it wants to do for providing a special package to the state or else it would end up as a “mere election jumla”.
“The government demands that whatever is to be done should be done quickly. A detailed proposal conforming to the aspirations of the state’s people is already pending before the Prime Minister, the Union finance minister and NITI Aayog. If something has to be done, the Centre should seriously consider this proposal and act accordingly,” the Nitish Kumar government said in an official statement.
Taking exception to the Centre’s reported move to provide the special package just before assembly election in Bihar, the statement said, “The dream of special package is today being sold to the people to get electoral benefits; after the election it would be said it was just a ‘jumla’.”
The state government has also sought to know from the Centre what fresh it would do in power sector in Bihar. “As is evident from newspaper reports, the Centre is preparing the special package, ignoring the proposal submitted by the state government. The Centre is trying to misguide people by camouflaging issues. For example, power availability is to be promised for 24 hours in Bihar in the next four years though the state’s residents know the state government is already working on an action plan for improvement of generation, transmission and distribution of power. People are already experiencing the improvement made in this sector. The Centre should say what fresh improvement it will make in this sector,” the statement reads.
Besides raising the issue of deductions in Bihar’s allocations on the basis of the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission and demanding special assistance to compensate such deductions, the state government also demanded Rs 8,284 crore under the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF). “Against a sanctioned amount of Rs 12,000 crore under the BRGF, Bihar has received only Rs 3,716 crore till the financial year 2014-15. It is requested that the remaining Rs 8,284 crore be made available. Also, this special assistance to Bihar should be continued in future,” it said.
Anguished over the Centre not inviting the state government to the meeting the Union finance minister held in New Delhi on June 4 to reportedly give a final shape to the special package to Bihar, the state government said, “It is a matter of great surprise that when the special package for Bihar was being finalized, leaders of state BJP were called to the meeting. The Centre ignored the state government which represents 11 crore people.”
“Everybody knows that Nitish Kumar has continuously placed the legal and financial arguments for special category/assistance to Bihar and campaigned for the same. Today, when because of the legal and circumstantial compulsions the Centre has to accept the genuine demand of the people of Bihar, they want to take the entire credit,” the statement said.